[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Newtown 4-13-1982 by Ord. No. 1982-3. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- ALARM EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
- Any person, firm or corporation who sells or leases and/or installs automatic protection devices.
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- A service whereby trained employees in attendance at all times receive prerecorded voice messages from automatic protection devices reporting an emergency at a stated location and who have the duty to relay immediately by live voice any such emergency message over a designated or direct trunk line to the communications center of the Police or Fire Departments.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- Any device, bell, horn or siren which is attached to the interior or exterior of a building and emits a warning signal audible outside the building and designed to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring police to respond.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
- An electrically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits a prerecorded voice alarm over regular telephone line, by direct or indirect connection to the Police or Fire Departments, upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of a fire or intrusion.
- CENTRAL STATION PROTECTIVE SYSTEM
- A protective system or group of such systems operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which maintains supervisors and accepts recorded messages from automatic protection devices at a central station having trained operators and guards in attendance at all times that have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message, including the relaying of messages by designated or direct trunk line to the communications center of the Police or Fire Departments.
- COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The communications room and other rooms which house auxiliary communications equipment.
- DESIGNATED TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line leading into the communications center of the Police or Fire Departments that is for the primary purpose of handling emergency messages which originate from automatic protection devices and are transmitted directly or indirectly through an intermediary.
- DIRECT TRUNK LINE
- A nonlisted, directly connected telephone line leading from an intermediary to the communications center of the Police or Fire Departments that is for the primary purpose of handling emergency messages on a person-to-person basis.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any signal activated by an automatic protection device, any audible alarm or any other kind of direct or indirect signal given the police or fire communications center to which police or firemen respond, which is not the result of a burglary, fire, robbery or similar emergency.
- A central station protective system or an answering service, as herein defined.
- To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic protection device.
- Written permission, duly granted to an applicant by the Township upon payment of the required fee.
- PRIMARY TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line leading into the communications center of
the Police or Fire Departments that is for the purpose of handling
emergency calls on a person-to-person basis and which line is identified
by a specific listing among the white pages in the telephone directory
issued by the telephone company.[Amended 4-24-1995 by Ord. No. 1995-2]
- SECONDARY TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line leading into the communications center of
the Police or Fire Departments that is for the purpose of handling
administrative and other calls on a person-to-person basis and which
line is identified by a specific listing among the white pages in
the telephone directory by the telephone company.[Amended 4-24-1995 by Ord. No. 1995-2]
Any person desiring to install an automatic protection device on his premises must register with and obtain written permission from the Township.
All persons proposing to construct, install or service alarms shall be registered as a builder in accordance with the Township Building Code. No person shall be registered unless he has complied with all provisions of this chapter.
After the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm equipment supplier holding a valid permit from the Township shall install any automatic protection device to a designated trunk line.
Within 90 days from the effective date of this section, every alarm equipment supplier who has installed or serviced an automatic protection device in the Township shall furnish to the Township a current list of such installation, which shall include the following information:
The name, address and telephone number of the owner or lessee.
The address where the device is installed and the telephone number of that address.
The name, address and telephone number of a control station, protective system or any other person or firm who is authorized to respond to an emergency and gain access to the address where the device is installed.
The name and telephone number of any person, firm or corporation, if any, other than the alarm equipment supplier who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the automatic protection device.
Every alarm equipment supplier shall furnish the information listed in Subsection A(1), (2) and (3) hereof for each new installation made in the Township at the time of application for an installation permit. All information furnished pursuant to these subsections shall be kept confidential and shall be for the use of the Township only.
For the purpose of enforcing this chapter and as a condition of installing and maintaining an automatic protection device, the owner or lessee thereof shall execute a consent in such form as may be prescribed by the Township, which shall authorize the Township to enter upon a lessee's or owner's premises within the Township at such reasonable times and upon reasonable notice to inspect the installation and operation of an automatic protection device.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protection device without first obtaining permission from the Police and/or Fire Departments. Where the equipment is keyed through an intermediary, no such permission is necessary unless the alarm or signal is to be relayed to the Police or Fire Departments.
Automatic protection devices installed in the Township that are keyed to designated trunk lines shall meet the following requirements:
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in a format approved prior to installation by the Township as appropriate for the type of emergency.
No more than one call shall be made over a designated trunk line to the Police Department or Fire Department as a result of a single activation of the automatic protection device.
The time for transmitting each recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds.
Recorded messages may be repeated during one call, but the interval between each recorded message shall be no less than eight nor more than 12 seconds.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protection device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion, so that the device shall not be actuated by impulses due to fleeting pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, the rattling or vibration of doors and windows, vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles, variations in voltage due to electrical storms and power failures or any other force not related to genuine alarms.
All components comprising such a device must be maintained by the owner or lessee in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
Fire detectors which are installed after the effective date of this chapter, other than temperature type, shall be cross-zoned so two detectors shall be activated before recorded messages are keyed into the telephone transmission system.
All alarm equipment suppliers who install telephone alarm or intrusion alarm equipment in the Township, whether leasing or selling such equipment, shall furnish operating instructions, without diagrams, and a maintenance manual to the customer. This shall be done at the time such equipment is installed or, in the case of equipment installed prior to the effective date of this section, within 60 days of that effective date.
Each alarm equipment supplier shall furnish operating instructions, circuit diagram and maintenance manual for each type of automatic protection device he deals in and installs in the Township. If the instructions are not clear, the alarm equipment supplier may be required to revise the instructions to the Township and all buyers and lessees of the particular automatic protection device.
Alarm equipment suppliers, installers of audible alarms and intermediaries shall furnish at or prior to the time of contracting, and at their expense, a copy of this chapter to owners, lessees or users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
Each alarm equipment supplier who sells or leases an automatic protection device in the Township which is keyed to a designated trunk line shall make service available directly or through an agent on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis, seven days a week, to repair such device or to correct any malfunction that may occur. Such service shall be made available for any person using an automatic protection device supplied at such user's election and expense.
At the time of installation, an alarm equipment supplier shall furnish to any buyer or lessee using a repair service written information as to how service may be obtained at any time, including the telephone number of the alarm equipment supplier or agent responsible for service. The buyer or lessee and the alarm equipment supplier or agent supplying a service shall be responsible for having the device disconnected or repaired as quickly as possible after notice that the automatic protection device is not functioning properly.
When messages indicate failure to comply with operational requirements and the Township concludes that the automatic protection device sending such messages should be disconnected in order to relieve the Township of the burden of responding to false alarms, the Police Chief is authorized to demand that the owner or lessee of the device or his representative disconnect the device until it is made to comply with the operational requirements. If disconnection of the defective device is not accomplished promptly and the Township determines that the malfunctioning device is repeatedly sending false alarms without any intermittent valid alarms, he may then take any steps necessary to disconnect the defective automatic protection device.
No automatic protection device installed after the effective date of this chapter shall be keyed to a primary or secondary trunk line. After the effective date of this chapter, all automatic protection devices that transmit recorded messages directly to the Police or Fire Departments shall be keyed to a designated trunk line.
Within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter, existing automatic protection devices in the Township shall be disconnected from primary and secondary trunk lines.
After the enactment of this section, owners or lessees must equip audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the audible alarm after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the Township and must be disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
[Amended 10-15-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-09]
For the purpose of defraying the costs to the Township of responding to a false alarm, the owner or lessee of an automatic protection device and persons using the services of intermediaries and users of audible alarms and users of any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police or fire communication centers, except persons using two-way live voice communications by telephone, shall, as a condition to installation and continued operation of such equipment or service, execute a consent in such form as may be prescribed by the Township regarding the payment of fees to the Township for false alarms originating from the owner's premises. This sum shall be a civil claim by the Township and does not affect the penalty provisions prescribed by § 55-15. Such amount shall be billed by the Township to the property owner or lessee and shall be paid within 60 days from the date of the bill. Interest on delinquent bills shall accrue at the rate of 6% per year, and the amount due plus accrued interest may be filed as a municipal lien upon the property owner or lessee and collected as provided by the Pennsylvania Municipal Claims Act.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq.
The procedure for imposing the aforementioned fees shall be as follows:
The determination as to whether an alarm is a false alarm shall be made by the Chief of Police, whose determination shall be final.
Following a determination of a false alarm, the Township will mail a written notice of the false alarm to the record title owner, lessee or other entity in control of the premises as indicated on the consent form, of the property where the false alarm occurred, notifying said property owner, lessee or user to take corrective action to prevent further false alarms and that future fees and penalties may result from future false alarms.
Such owner, lessee or user will pay a fee for each subsequent false alarm in a one-year period, in amount to be determined from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. For purposes of this consent, the one-year period shall be counted from the date of the first false alarm in that one-year period if there are no subsequent false alarms in the one-year period, and if there are any subsequent false alarms in that one-year period, from the date of any subsequent false alarm.
Any such owner, lessee or user who fails to execute the consent described in Subsection A above within 60 days from the effective date of this section shall, within the sixty-day period, disconnect the alarm, automatic protection device or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police or fire communications center and shall discontinue using the services of any intermediaries. Continued use after the sixty-day period without executing the consent shall be a violation of this chapter subject to the penalties of § 55-15.
[Amended 7-12-1982 by Ord. No. 1982-12; 9-12-1983 by Ord. No. 1983-8; 4-24-1995 by Ord. No. 1995-2; 10-15-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-09]
Notice violations. Failure to comply with the requirements of written notice of a violation of any provision hereof within five days of receipt of such notice, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall constitute an offense punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000. Costs of prosecution are to be collectible before any Magisterial District Judge as like fines and penalties are now by law collectible. Such notice shall continue in force and effect until full compliance with the requirements stated herein, and each and every failure to comply with such notice within 24 hours after the five days allowed for compliance shall constitute a separate offense.
Intentional false alarm violations. Any person found guilty of misuse, orintentional or deliberate fake or false activation shall be liable for a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, for each and every such activation, to be collectible before any Magisterial District Judge as like fines or penalties are now by law collectible.
Continual accidental activation. Any person found guilty of continual accidental activation shall be liable for a fine of not more than $300, plus costs of prosecution for each and every occurrence, to be collectible before any Magisterial District Judge as like fines and penalties are now by law collectible. Continual accidental activation shall mean any subsequent accidental activation after three false alarms or activations, whether intentional or accidental, within the same consecutive twelve-month period.